Another abuse victim emerges in Penn State case

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Another abuse victim emerges in Penn State case

From Comcast SportsNet
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- A year and a half after an investigation began into Jerry Sandusky's contact with young boys, the former Penn State assistant football coach applied for a volunteer coaching job at a central Pennsylvania college but was denied the job after a background check. Officials at Juniata College said Wednesday that Sandusky applied for the volunteer football coaching job in May 2010 and rejected the following month after a background check showed a high school where Sandusky previously volunteered was investigating him. Juniata spokesman John Wall said the college was not informed of the details of the investigation or the existence of a grand jury, but based on the report informed its coaches Sandusky was not to have contact with the program. "We basically did our due-diligence," Wall said. According to Wall, Sandusky continued to attend games after he we rejected for the job and at one point sat in the press box for an away game. Wall said he wasn't sure what led Sandusky to be in the press box, but said the school's former athletic director then reiterated to its coaches that Sandusky was to have no connection with the team. Sandusky's attempt to work at Juniata was first reported by WHP-TV. The information that Sandusky was still pursuing coaching opportunities amid an investigation into his activities comes as his attorney and prosecutors prepare for a preliminary hearing where several of his alleged victims could testify. A lawyer for one of the young men told The Associated Press his client plans to testify at Tuesday's hearing and as many as five others who testified before the grand jury could also testify. The attorney spoke to AP on condition of anonymity because he is trying to ensure his client's identity isn't revealed publicly. Another accuser came forward Tuesday and filed a complaint with authorities. The now 19-year-old said he also met Sandusky through The Second Mile, a charity Sandusky founded in 1977 to help at-risk children, lawyer Charles Schmidt said. Schmidt said the client, whom he did not identify, went to his law firm about three weeks ago, after Sandusky was charged with sexually abusing eight boys over a 15-year period. "He suffered one incident of abuse, to use the legal term -- involuntary deviate sexual intercourse -- allegedly at the hands of Mr. Sandusky," Schmidt said. "That occurred on the Penn State campus, we believe in the area of the football facilities." Schmidt told the AP that his client was 12 years old, dealing with the death of his mother and suffering emotional issues at the time of the campus incident. The lawyer said the two met through The Second Mile and his client claims Sandusky gave him liquor while in the office on campus. The grand jury report did not allege any instances of Sandusky giving boys alcohol. Schmidt said his law firm is conducting its own investigation into the client's claims. "We hope to have it wrapped up within another week. We believe him to be credible," Schmidt said. "Everything that we've been able to unearth since has corroborated what he told us, but we'll continue to do our due diligence." Sandusky is charged with 40 counts of child sex abuse involving eight young boys, but it's not clear if prosecutors know the identities of the last two victims. The preliminary hearing could last a day or more, since the defense has the right to cross-examine the state's witnesses. The judge would then rule if there's probable cause to uphold the charges. Sandusky, 67, has denied being a pedophile and has vowed to fight the case. In interviews with NBC and The New York Times, he has said he showered and horsed around with boys but never sexually abused them. Former sex-crimes prosecutor Richard DeSipio said prosecutors may have to call the six known accusers for the judge to uphold the 40 counts. Defense lawyers sometimes waive preliminary hearings if they are worried about publicity for their clients, but DeSipio said he is not surprised Amendola is demanding the hearing. "This is their first and only opportunity before trial to actually see the witnesses... to hear their tone and demeanor, and to question them and see how they respond to questions, and also to flush out details," said DeSipio, who is now a criminal defense lawyer in Philadelphia. He expects more cross-examination than is typical at this stage, as Amendola tries to lock in the witnesses' stories. Still, he said, "I doubt the defense lawyer is going to beat up on them." Defense lawyers can also call witnesses to testify at preliminary hearings, but seldom do. "Our position would be that these people have to testify," Amendola said in an interview. "And one isn't sufficient, because you have eight separate incidents ... with eight separate alleged victims or accusers." The state attorney general's office would not comment Tuesday on their evidence or strategy. "We're not going to talk about specific testimony," spokesman Nils Frederiksen said Tuesday. "We'll be prepared to present as much as necessary to hold the case for trial." Prosecutors listed eight victims in the grand jury report, but didn't know the identities of two of them when they issued the report Nov. 5. One of the two was a boy allegedly seen being sodomized by Sandusky in a Penn State football complex shower in 2002. Amendola said he's looking forward to questioning the prosecution witnesses -- including any alleged victims.

Sense of stability evident among Bears hierarchy going into pivotal year of major unknowns

Sense of stability evident among Bears hierarchy going into pivotal year of major unknowns

Specifics such as whom the Bears will draft at No. 3, or 36, or somewhere in between weren't going to be gleaned from this week's conversations with Bears Chairman George McCaskey, GM Ryan Pace or head coach John Fox. But more interesting, and important, too, are some the the more strategic takeaways from visits with the hierarchy most involved with Bears football fortunes.
 
More significant than anything regarding a player or position is the stability of the core, meaning Pace's and Fox's position under McCaskey. Because that ultimately affects draft choices, signings and myriad elements extending beyond the 2017 season. And some of all that involves understanding McCaskey's vision and history.
 
Realize: Pace was McCaskey's second GM hire in barely three NFL years. The first one of Phil Emery was an abject failure, as was the accompanying coaching hire. The absolute last thing McCaskey wants to be forced by circumstances into doing is replacing another general manager. Brother Michael lost his berth as president due to making the NFL's charter franchise into a laughingstock because of a botched coaching hire; Brother George has no wish to continue the kind of high-level turnover that both reflect, cause and perpetuate dysfunction, and losing.
 
Against that backdrop, one trail of breadcrumbs leads to a strong sense that Pace is secure in his job, barring something going epically wrong. McCaskey was clear that he approved of and likes the direction the Bears are moving under Pace, to the point of having Pace in a video directed to the fanbase. If Pace were on some sort of hot seat, McCaskey and the organization do not make him a short-term face of the franchise while they hope for a player to emerge as that "face."
 
McCaskey could not put a whole lot more pressure on Pace than the latter gets as part of his job and wanting to stay in Chicago for more than football reasons.
 
"Keep building through the draft," McCaskey said during the recently concluded owners meetings. "I told Ryan he should get ripped every time around this year, this time of year ever year for not being more active in free agency. And that's because we're developing our own guys and rewarding our own guys."

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The breadcrumbs from there lead to Fox's situation. Start with the thought that coaches operate for the present and GMs for the future. Not exactly true; GMs balance present and future.
 
But every indication, verbal and otherwise, has been that Fox was very much on board with the major makeover at one spot in particular — quarterback — and a coach with down to possibly a final season pounds the table for win-now material, particularly at that position. And when the Bears didn't re-sign Brian Hoyer this offseason, which may not have appeared to be benchmark non-move but was, at least one Bears coach was apoplectic at not staying a course with a quarterback who delivered 300 passing yards and zero turnovers in his brief Bears "career."
 
Fox, however, was clearly comfortable with giving the quarterback wheel a spin with Mike Glennon, and ultimately so is his staff. Because it is part of program plan.
 
Consider this scenario: The Bears rebound to a respectable seven or eight wins; not spectacular but the NFC North is the only division in either conference to send two teams to the postseason , meaning that Fox's Bears likely put up a couple wins over good teams, which can be construed as the "progress" that McCaskey referenced this week.
 
Meanwhile, Pace has a third draft with impact players, the Kevin Whites, Eddie Goldmans and others come back from injuries, the Bears go into the 2018 offseason and land Kirk Cousins or have Glennon be what they'd hoped, and the Bears are what McCaskey envisions: a challenger with an arrow pointing up.
 
All theoretical or hypothetical, but Pace has a plan that McCaskey knows and endorses, and best guess is that he gives his GM, and coach, time to have it play out.
 
"We have confidence in Ryan and John," McCaskey said, imposing only "progress" and "results" as his conditions. "We want to build through the draft. Ryan said that in his interview when he said he was interested in coming to the Bears. And we like how he has stuck to that plan."
 
Maybe that was the most significant tell; McCaskey has seen progress apart from the record: "Yeah," he confirmed. "Yes sir."

First goal with Blackhawks 'a release' for Tomas Jurco

First goal with Blackhawks 'a release' for Tomas Jurco

Tomas Jurco's reaction to his first goal on Monday night was as much celebration as a little bit of relief. The forward, acquired by the Blackhawks about a month ago, had had a few great scoring chances in recent games but just couldn't capitalize.

Finally, he got that first of the season against Tampa Bay.

"It's kind of a release, you know?" Jurco said on Wednesday. "I've had a lot of good chances and it would just never go in for some reason. Obviously I'm very happy that it went in and hopefully this is the start of, I would say, more luck for me."

Looking for consistency in his own game as well as a consistent spot in the lineup, Jurco was looking for a boost of confidence. Getting that first goal could be part of it, as a bit of a weight disappears with that zero in the goal column. 

"That's a hurdle that can be in the back of your mind a lot and all of a sudden it could be a nice release," coach Joel Quenneville said of that first goal. "He's progressing in our team game, technically. Whether it's his pace of play or going to the right areas quickly, we're looking for progression. We saw it [Monday] night and I think he'll continue to get better off that. But certainly that should help him get confidence as we go along here."

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Jurco's been around the net, something the Blackhawks always encourage, for most of those scoring opportunities. Perhaps some of that puck luck wasn't quite there. But Jurco is gaining confidence in recent games, and getting that goal could boost it that much more.

"I've always said, especially in my case, scoring helps that confidence come easier. It brings that fun to the game," Jonathan Toews said. "Maybe if you're not feeling it or not playing with high energy, at a certain point in a game when you score, for some reason you get that jolt, you get that jump. For [Jurco], he's been playing well when he's been in, and no doubt that scoring a goal like that can help boost confidence and help him find his game, which we know he has and will continue to show."

The scoring hurdle has been cleared and Jurco is gaining confidence. Will he carve out a consistent spot in the lineup? Quenneville has some options through the bottom six. That, coupled with the Blackhawks playing inconsistent hockey lately and missing that four-line rotation, Jurco's been one of several who have been in and out of the lineup. But Quenneville said on Wednesday, "I don't see making constant changes once the [playoffs] begin." If Jurco keeps getting chances and capitalizing on a few, and if he ends up as part of a rotation that's successful again, he could stick.

Jurco waited a little bit for that first goal. He hopes it's just the start.

"You know eventually it's going to go in but it was just frustrating. Another game and another and another with good chances and it just wouldn't go in. So it's a big release," Jurco said. "Hopefully I'll keep going, keep producing."